Watch with glittering eyes around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in the magic will never find it! – Roald Dahl

The cost of cheap energy: Mountain top removal (a.k.a. surface mining)

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m working on my graduate degree in Sustainability. There are so many things I’ve learned along the way, many of them make me wonder “What are we DOING?!” and “Why does anyone think this is okay?!”

One of my professors had us watch a movie called “Coal Country” and I was mortified. Horrified. Sickened. Depressed. Ashamed. Disgusted.

In the name of cheap energy – which we largely waste in abundant amounts – it seems that we have sold our souls to the devil, so to speak. What are we truly willing to give up, sacrifice, or destroy in the name of “progress”??

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Blue skies, smilin’ at me…nothin’ but blue skies, do i see…

Do you know what I forced myself to do when I was taking a quick walk over my lunch break today? Put my phone away. *gasp!*

That’s right, kids. No texting. No checking my facebook. No Angry Birds or Words With Friends. No nothin’ but me and the birds chirping over the sounds from the highway across the parking lot, the fresh(ish) air – beats the hell out of a cubicle, anyhow – the bright blue skies and the fluffiest white clouds. And me, lost in my thoughts; silently giving thanks for the many wonderful things in my life that make me smile.

It worked so well, that I decided to declare the after work walk to my car – across the vast expanse of asphalt and paint – a phone-free zone as well. And I’m looking at the sky and wondering what the OPI nail polish colors would be for these amazingly clear shades of blue. And I’m so thankful for these gorgeous blue skies & puffy white clouds that remind me of lazy summer afternoons as a little girl, laying in the grass making shapes out of the clouds as they flutter by on the breeze.

Of course, I’m not a little girl anymore – even if I am only 5′ 1″ – and all I could think about was how sad it would be if the sky and clouds alike turned gray and dirty. Oh pollution…aren’t you a curse? A pain in my ass is more like it. Stupid asthma, robbing my son of breath & sleep.

It’s times like these where I have to wonder if I’m the only one whose subconscious feels it necessary to punctuate their inner monologue with clips of songs or movie quotes. Seriously. Who does that?

Anyway, I digress…although I seem to do that more often than I seem to stay on point.

I wonder, too, if I’m the only one haunted by things I learn. Given that burning fossil fuels is the number one emitter of CO2 emissions (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2_human.html), I frantically turn lights off behind people from room to room in my house (although I’ve been known to do this at work, too). I feel almost panicked if we pull in the driveway & the car idles before my fiance sees me fidgeting & remembers to turn it off (thanks, honey!), and I absolutely cringe when all the cars in the daycare “drop-off zone” just keep running & running & running as parents drop their kiddos off in the morning. Cringe, I tell you!

I think I realized I had reached a whole new level when a woman at work was brushing her teeth while she left the stream of hot water run full blast. Full blast! While she was just brushing away.

I actually said out loud “Could you turn that water off? Do you know how much water that wastes?”

She looked at me indignantly and said “I’ll get to it!” Clearly, I had no choice but to reach right over and just turn that lil handle right off with a quick little “Let me just get that for ya. Seriously, that wastes sooo much water.”

I just have such a ferocious appreciation for the finite resources of this planet and the infinite beauty it provides that my heart actually breaks a little when I see easy things not being done to preserve it. But we could. One little thing at a time, we could save it all. Maybe even Tuvalu (it’s drowning…Google it).

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